Sun’s getting real low on stash season.
Hope remains its sparkly self in the nooks and crannies of the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.
If an organization thinks a young player will break camp on the major league roster in 2023, it has incentives to bring him up in September while he’s in rhythm. Downsides remain, of course, from a player-control perspective, but they’re mostly in the form of injury and marginally compromised roster flexibility, but those always exist.
1. Arizona OF Corbin Carroll (AAA) 22 years old as of six days ago
2. Baltimore SS Gunnar Henderson (AAA) 21 years old
Here we are. Born to be kings. We’re the princes of the universe.
I’m starting to believe the logic behind a late-season call for each, but Carroll might belong in his own tier. Not only do I think he’s a cut above Henderson from a fantasy perspective, but I also think the Diamondbacks are less pinchy about pennies. It’s the new thing to offer young stars huge contracts. Used to be the new thing, too. Worked incredibly well. Then I guess the Astros paid Jonathan Singleton millions to smoke all the strains, and everyone stopped paying young players for a while. I for one am happy to see it’s back in vogue. Anywho, all that is to say, Corbin Carroll is the kind of player a smart ownership group would back up the Brinks for. Hell that kind of thing might even be on the table in Baltimore these days.
3. Texas 3B Josh Jung (AAA) 24 years old
4. Brewers OF Sal Frelick (AAA) 22 years old
Speaking of money, Texas seems confused at the moment about how to purchase real estate on the win curve. Josh Jung needs a new challenge. He slugged .652 when he was in Triple-A for 35 games last season, and he’s slugging .683 across 14 games in Triple-A this season. Player-development wise, it’s tough to make a good case against him seeing major league pitching before the close of 2022. You’d have to go the health route, I think. Just trying to protect him, I guess, from pressing and re-injuring himself. Or you could go the player-control route, but there’s little chance of Texas keeping Jung in the minors until June next season. Bosses are getting fired around these parts, which tends to matter in these equations. Can’t hurt to put a young slugger on the field and see him slugging in front of the fans.
Free licks are the name of the game, if you’re into the math that says calling a player up now is functionally the same as playing him on Opening Day. Sal can’t be stopped in Triple-A. Get him up while he’s hot, I say.
6. Cubs 1B Matt Mervis (AAA) 24 years old
Casas is slashing .320/.446/.507 with plus plate skills (17.4% BB, 20.7% K) but just one home run but nine doubles in 21 August games. Pretty good test case for how Boston sees the new rules. I’d be surprised to see them opening 2023 with anyone else at first base.
Never-nervous Mervis walked a game off with a three-run moonshot this week. ‘Tis the season of moving on from dead-end veterans. I’m skeptical he can earn a look, but he’s been impressive in a month at Triple-A, controlling the strike zone (9.1 BB%, 13.2 K%) and slashing .290/.364/.542 with five home runs. He looks like the first baseman for 2023, so it makes some sense to let him get his feet wet now while he might hit the ground running.
Los Angeles is rarely hurting for arms, but if they can find room to make one or both of these guys an option for the playoff roster, they’d be better for it. Both have thrown well in their early adjustment to Triple-A.
12. Baltimore RHP Grayson Rodriguez (AAA) 22 years old
Naylor has tailed off a bit, striking out in 31.7 percent of his August plate appearances.
Peraza appears to have lost out to Oswaldo Cabrera, who’s playing extremely well thus far on both sides of the ball.
Jordan Walker is something of a hail mary here. I wouldn’t bet on it, but it could win you a week if it hits.
Rodriguez faced live hitters this week, trying to return from a right lat strain. Injured rookie pitchers on the Orioles have rarely been rich soil for turning over late-season surges, but Rodriguez features 95th percentile major league stuff and could rip through a few innings in mid-September. I had no idea where to put him here, but I think he belongs on the list.
13. St. Louis 1B OF Alec Burleson (AAA) 23 years old
15. Athletics LHP Ken Waldichuk (AAA) 24 years old
I used to be comparatively high on Burleson. I’ll probably wind up on the low side by the time he gets promoted. Lack of speed and opportunity will be the culprits. Starting to feel like he’ll need a trade to find some daylight.
Mead’s back on tap after missing about a month with an elbow issue. I doubt he’s coming up, but the Rays have been unpredictably aggressive with Mead’s assignments throughout his development.
Oakland’s trade deadline might look pretty good a couple years from now, and Ken Waldichuk is a big part of that. I prefer JP Sears, if he’s out there in your league, but I think we’ll see Waldichuk before the book closes on our season.
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